UK justice minister resigns over Brexit policy

UK justice minister resigns over Brexit policy
Copyright  REUTERS/Yves Herman
By Claire Heffron

UK's Dr Phillip Lee becomes the first MP to resign so he can vote against the government on Brexit, dealing a huge blow to Prime Minister Theresa May.

A UK Conservative MP has resigned as justice minister in protest at Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit policy.

Dr Philip Lee, also minister for human rights, made the announcement live on stage on Tuesday morning at a think tank event in London. He becomes the first MP to resign so he can vote against the government on Brexit.

In a tweet this morning, he said, "I am incredibly sad to have had to announce my resignation as a minister in Her Majesty’s Government so that I can better speak up for my constituents and country over how Brexit is currently being delivered."

The pro-Remain MP added a statement on his website: “The main reason for my taking this decision now is the Brexit process and the Government’s wish to limit Parliament’s role in contributing to the final outcome in a vote that takes place today”.

On Brexit, the Doctor said, "In my medical experience, if a course of treatment is not working, then I review it. I also have a duty to get my patient’s informed consent for that action."

"When the Government is able to set out an achievable, clearly defined path — one that has been properly considered, whose implications have been foreseen, and that is rooted in reality and evidence, not dreams and dogma — it should go to the people, once again, to seek their confirmation."

Lee believes other ministerial colleagues will follow suit after his surprising declaration.

May urged her party yesterday to back her in key Brexit votes and defeat House of Lords proposals to amend her EU withdrawal legislation. The prime minister warned fellow Tories not to undermine her as the government attempts to avoid Commons defeats.

May did not immediately address Lee's resignation.

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